Pope’s canonization of Paul VI, Romero personal, political

VATICAN CITY (AP) – Pope Francis will canonize two of the most important and contested figures of the 20th-century Catholic Church, declaring Pope Paul VI and the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero as models of saintliness for the faithful today.

Sunday’s ceremony is likely to be emotional for Francis, since he was greatly influenced by both men and privately told confidantes he wanted them made saints during his papacy. The two represent the epitome of the outward-looking church that Francis has championed, one that is close to the poor and fights injustice.

Paul VI and Romero also endured strong opposition from within the church in life and after death – a fate Francis is experiencing now amid the church’s burgeoning sex abuse and cover-up scandal.

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis will elevate to sainthood the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero alongside Pope Paul VI in a ceremony on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis will elevate to sainthood the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero alongside Pope Paul VI in a ceremony on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis will elevate to sainthood the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero alongside Pope Paul VI in a ceremony on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Horse mounted police ride past the tapestry of martyred Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero hanging from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. On Sunday in the Vatican, Pope Francis will officially make Romero a saint nearly three decades after he was martyred by an assassin's bullet to the heart. Romero was slain March 24, 1980, a day after he implored the military dictatorship to "cease the repression" against civilians as the country spiraled toward a 12-year civil war. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Horse mounted police ride past the tapestry of martyred Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero hanging from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. On Sunday in the Vatican, Pope Francis will officially make Romero a saint nearly three decades after he was martyred by an assassin's bullet to the heart. Romero was slain March 24, 1980, a day after he implored the military dictatorship to "cease the repression" against civilians as the country spiraled toward a 12-year civil war. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Horse mounted police ride past the tapestry of martyred Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero hanging from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. On Sunday in the Vatican, Pope Francis will officially make Romero a saint nearly three decades after he was martyred by an assassin’s bullet to the heart. Romero was slain March 24, 1980, a day after he implored the military dictatorship to “cease the repression” against civilians as the country spiraled toward a 12-year civil war. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis will elevate to sainthood the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero alongside Pope Paul VI in a ceremony on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis will elevate to sainthood the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero alongside Pope Paul VI in a ceremony on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

The tapestries of Roman Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero, left, and Pope Paul VI hang from a balcony of the facade of St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Oct. 12, 2018. Pope Francis will elevate to sainthood the martyred Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero alongside Pope Paul VI in a ceremony on Sunday Oct. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

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